April 27, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama gymnastics team celebrated the 2013 season Saturday night with its annual awards banquet hosted by The Medalist Club, the program's booster organization.
The Crimson Tide finished third at last week's NCAA Championships, giving head coach Sarah Patterson and her squad their fifth consecutive top-3 finish and an NCAA-best 22nd overall finish in the top-3. Alabama also won its NCAA-best 28th regional championship in addition to earning a host of individual honors.
"Our expectations are high, and we embrace them," Patterson said during the banquet. "My message to our ladies is throughout your lives, set your goals high. You won't always achieve them, but you'll get a lot more out of life than if you never strive for great things."
The banquet was held at "The Zone" located in North End Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium with more than 250 in attendance, including UA President Dr. Judy Bonner.
"These extraordinary young ladies have achieved success at the very highest level as athletes, as scholars and in life," Bonner said. "I am enormously proud of them."
Junior Lindsey Fowler was honored with the Lewis Each Courage Award, which Patterson calls the most prestigious honor bestowed by the team. Fowler accepted the award from Jean and Winston Each, the parents of the honor's namesake, the late Lewis Each.
Robin Kelley, in her 11th year as the Tide's administrative assistant and travel coordinator, was honored with the David Dutton Memorial Award, given to those who consistently go above and beyond in the service of the Alabama Gymnastics program.
The President's Award went to Medalist Club board member Terry Grosse. Both outgoing Medalist Club President Dolores Burroughs and incoming president Pat Huet spoke of the Tide's season of excellence and excitement for the future.
Seniors Ashley Priess and Ashley Sledge and junior Kim Jacob were voted the Tide's permanent captains by their teammates. Priess earned a pair of All-American honors, bumping her career total to double digits with 10. She also won the NCAA Regional all-around and uneven bars titles and was the president of the Alabama Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Sledge, a two-time All-American who also served on the SAAC executive board, won the 2013 NCAA Regional uneven bars title.
In addition to being voted team captain, Jacob earned the NCAA Elite 89 Award, given annually to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average at each of the NCAA's 89 championships. In the four-year history of the award, Alabama is the only gymnastics program to win it.
A three-time All-American in 2013, Jacob has now earned seven honors for her career and was the 2013 NCAA Regional balance beam and uneven bars champion. A member of the 2013 SEC Community Service Team and winner of the Tide's David DeSantis Community Service Award, she also earned the SEC Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.
Junior Diandra Milliner won the NCAA Vault Championship, boosting Alabama's individual national championship total to 24, and earned a trio of All-American honors, giving her six for her career. She also took second at the NCAA Championships in the floor exercise after winning that event at the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Regional championships, earning All-SEC honors along the way.
The Tide's four other 2013 All-Americans were also recognized. Junior Sarah DeMeo, sophomores Kayla Williams and Kaitlyn Clark as well as freshman Lauren Beers. Williams and Clark were also honored for winning the NCAA Regional vault and uneven bars titles, respectively.